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Novel energy delivery techniques for laser additive manufacturing from metal powders

Industrial supply of additively manufactured medical components currently falls behind the market demand. This project is geared towards improving the production rate of specific additive parts by adapting the laser delivery to optimise for that particular part by avoiding inherent physical process limitations.

Laser processing of carbon nanotube fibers and films

This project aims to develop a scalable manufacturing route for reliable field emission cathodes. By using state of the art and innovative processes, field emission has increased by over 400%. The latest device design has been manufactured and is currently being tested at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Ultra precision hybrid laser-FIB platform

The integration of ultrafast lasers with metrology systems allows for closed-loop machining to occur. This allows for a sample of unknown properties to be taken inspected, machined, evaluated, and corrected in a single process which increase precision and reduces manufacturing time.

High speed mask-less laser controlled precision additive manufacture

This PhD project has been initiated to develop a laser-based precision additive manufacturing route for the CIM-UP platform at the University of Cambridge.

Holography as a consumer display solution

The outcomes of this project have led to development of new strategies enabling significant increases in material deposition rate in a scanning regime, and methods of implementation have been proposed. Feasibility studies on disruptive technologies have also been performed, which will form the basis of further research by subsequent students.

Design and development of solid state additive manufacturing techniques

The aim of this research project is the investigation of how cold spray, a process used to create metal coatings, can be applied to 3D structuring, and the development of a manufacturing process for the creation of bulk, high fidelity surfaces.

An inkjet/ultrafast laser hybrid for digital fabrication of biomedical sensors

The project focuses on developing a novel manufacturing method for high resolution digital patterning of functional materials for low volume manufacture of sensors using inkjet printing and laser ablation. The manufacturing challenges and future capability of the hybrid technology will also be researched.

Ordered Nanomaterials for Electron Field Emission

Field emission describes the emission of electrons into vacuum under an applied electric field. Current x-ray sources are energy intensive and cumbersome. Clare’s project focusses on using carbon nanotubes and field emission to replace and improve current x-ray technologies.

Precision Engineering of Advanced Air Bearing Systems

Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Technology For Ultra-Precision Engineering Of Optics For Applications In Aerospace, Defence And Science

New optical technologies increase the demands on the engineering specifications of optical surfaces, with manufacturing specifications of up to 1nm RMS form accuracy and 0.1nm RMS surface finish. To achieve these fabrication requirements novel ultra-precision methods must be developed. The proposed solution is microwave generated activate plasma figuring.

Precision metrology for large freeform non-specular surfaces

There is no standard method for measuring a metre–scale non-specular freeform surface in the ‘ultra-precise’ measurement regime. This project aims to produce a measurement system to enable ultra-precise measurement of these surfaces. The system involves a number of laser trackers to measure the position of a probe as it moves over a surface to be measured.

Display motion error reduction through novel binary dithering schemes

This project is an investigation into display motion performance. Experiments using a prototype and computer modelling have demonstrated that fast switching binary displays can potentially display colour images at over 500Hz using novel techniques, greatly benefiting applications such as virtual reality by reducing latency and blurring.

Development and optimisation of an optofluidic nano tweezers system for trapping nanometre crystals for synchrotron x-ray diffraction experiments

This project investigates optofluidic technology and evanescent field optical tweezing as more efficient and biologically compatible sample loading solution for micro and nano protein crystals, in synchrotron and free electron lasers (X-FELS) x-ray crystallography beamlines. The project is both sponsored and in collaboration with the Diamond light source national synchrotron.

Anode materials for vacuum electronics devices

The project focuses on eliminating the anode’s contribution to outgassing and plasma formation caused by the near surface ionization of the outgassed neutral atoms by the desorbed electrons, thus increasing the lowest achievable pressure in vacuum electronics devices improving their efficiency.

Design, fabrication and characterisation of hierarchical branching vascular networks

The main challenge in the research of artificially engineered tissue is the vascularization of tissue. The focus of the project is to develop, with an algorithm, realistic vascular networks in a given three-dimensional space, and the experimental fabrication and study of flow within the networks.

Development of non-contact methods for measuring the outside geometry of AM parts

Additive manufacturing is rapidly growing with more and more industries incorporating it in their manufacturing processes. However, before it can be widely adopted in the manufacturing industry, purpose built metrology systems must be designed to ensure tight tolerances and traceability are provided. The aim will be to develop an optical metrology system for measuring the complex outside form of AM parts.

Development of a precision fibre optic CO2 sensor for the potential use in healthcare/environmental assessment

Development of a precision fibre optic CO2 sensor for the potential use in healthcare assessment

This PhD project is focussed on fabricating a carbon dioxide sensor for healthcare monitoring. The use of optical fibre modulations and CO2 sensitive coatings will allow precise measurements to be determined.

Real-time metrology of micro-targets for high power laser systems operating at high repetition rates

Microtargets irradiated by high power lasers (HPL) enable experimental study of a wide range of objects and materials under extreme conditions, for example, ion production for potential future oncology techniques, laboratory astrophysics and ‘inertial fusion energy’.

Development of camera-based systems for micro-coordinate metrology

New camera-based 3D measurement systems for high-precision coordinate metrology will be developed. Techniques to be considered include photogrammetry and fringe projection, including hybrid designs. A number of case study components will be measured using the techniques to demonstrate their performance with different geometries, materials and surface textures.

Spatial light modulators and its application in computer generated holograms

Holographic displays have attracted more and more attention in these days, and there is a huge market for relevant products. The research is focused on Optically Addressed Spatial Light Modulators (OASLMs), in comparison to Electrically Addressed Spatial Light Modulators (EASLMs).


Ultrafast machining of high temperature superconductor nanostructures for novel mesoscale physics

High temperature superconductors (HTS) are novel materials that exhibit zero electrical resistance and exclusion of magnetic fields at temperatures over 77 K. The main aim of this project is to enhance the critical current density (Jc) of thin-film HTS bridges by creating edge-barrier pinning. Assuming a perfect edge, edge-barrier pinning effects bridges as large as 200 μm. This limit becomes smaller as edge quality degrades. Unlike photolithography, laser machining is a chemical free, flexible process; the use of an ultrafast laser gives minimal edge damage.

A method of consolidating powder layers in a single exposure using shaped intensity profiles of light

This work centres on the development of new procedures for consolidating powder layers using lasers for application in additive manufacturing.

Novel plasma diagnostics for light-matter interactions

A main objective of the programme is to develop and implement a novel integrated plasma diagnostics tool by combining nN force measurements with high speed pulsed digital holography, laser-induced fluorescence and volumetric ion current analysis within a thermal vacuum chamber. The proposed system will be used to increase our understanding of new and existing energy transfer mechanisms where plasmas are concerned e.g. studying phenomena in laser-matter interactions.

Developing in-situ monitoring, analysis and control systems for the floating catalyst carbon nanotube fibre production process

This project aims to improve the process control and production stability of large carbon nanotube fibres through the addition of new sensors and better handling of sensor outputs and control input.

Smart Cellulose Photonic Materials

A collaboration between the Nanomanufacturing group (IfM) and Bio-inspired Photonics group (Melville Lab) sees Charlie working towards the production and application of biocompatible photonic materials.

Digitally enabled surface function modification for wide area applications

The fabrication of superhydrophobic surfaces is the focus of intense research globally. There are many potential applications for the technology because of the potential to accurately channel water, reduce corrosion, reduce cleaning cycles and therefore water consumption and to possibly reduce the adhesion of biological contamination. Additional applications of interest include biomedical diagnostics, micro fuel cells and water harvesting devices but these all call for the development of patternable wettability control.

High Rate Additive Manufacture using Holographic Beam Shaping (HBS)

The project will focus on high rate production of 3D plastic and metal parts using holographic beam shaping (HBS) to perform selective laser sintering (SLS). Current additive manufacturing (AM) techniques are reliant upon electron and laser beam technologies to selectively melt a small area.

Creating 3D nanomagnetic circuits for applications in spintronics

In the 3D nanomagnetic paradigm, new physics phenomena such as new types of domain wall, 3D spin texture and dynamic effects have a great potential leading to new functionalities which will find application in fields such as sensing, actuating, information storage and ‘internet of things’.

Metallisation of CNTs

This project is being completed in collaboration with Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFSOR) with the aim of developing metal – CNT (carbon nanotube) paper laminates optimised for use in anodes of high power microwave devices.

BioLaser: Establishing a high-resolution Laser Ablation Tomography Platform for UK Bioimaging Research

Biolaser is an IfM and NIAB collaboration which aims to develop a laser ablation tomography platform that provides rapid, 3D imaging of plant material down to micron or even sub-micron resolutions.

Design of a multi-sensor in-situ inspection system for additive manufacturing

This project aims to improve the reliability of AM processes perform in process monitoring with a novel multi-sensory system that is integrated into the build chamber.

Manufacture of Ultra-Precision Piston/Cylinders for Hydraulic Amplification

This project aims to provide a methodology for the manufacture of the piston and cylinder assemblies (PCA’s)

Precise measurement and atomic scale investigation of the growth of short cracks under Corrosion-Fatigue conditions

The continual need for gas turbines to operate with higher efficiency has resulted in the demand for increase in operating temperature of components throughout the gas stream. A consequence of this is that components that were once considered ‘low-risk’ are becoming susceptible to high-temperature corrosion, stress-corrosion and corrosion-fatigue damage and, in some instances, failure.

Study of calcium phosphate formation driven by the dissolution of a 45S5 bioactive glass

Here, we use and assess an in-situ liquid TEM cell aiming to increase understanding of a particular silicate glass alteration that results in solution-phase hydroxyapatite (HA) like material formation. 1-3

Ultrafast terahertz spectroscopy of highly aligned carbon nanotube textiles

The project is concerned with bringing new insights with regard to the fundamental electrical properties of the carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles being produced by the University of Cambridge's Macromolecular Material Laboratory (MML). Utilising time-domain spectroscopy (TDS) and optical pump-terahertz probe spectroscopy (OPTPS) charge-carrier lifetimes, insights into the charge-carrier dynamics and quantities equivalent to ac conductivity can be extracted. It is hoped that through examination of the results from OPTPS, a characteristic ratio of the semiconducting-to-metallic nanotubes present in each textile can be found.

The Influence of Environmental Exposures on the Precision of Temperature Measurements using Phosphorescent Thermometry.

Temperature profiling of components in thermal power plant is of increasing importance as engineers drive to increase firing temperatures and optimize engine efficiency. In order to increase efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, higher firing temperatures are required coupled with improved and optimised cooling patterns for any highly thermally loaded parts.

The Application of Laser Assisted Cold Spray for Additive Manufacturing

Cold spray is a metallic powder deposition technique which has been traditionally used to create coatings on substrates to repair or enhance them. Recently cold spray has been introduced to the additive manufacturing sector, being used to fabricate and/or repair free standing components. The status quo is that machining is required after the deposition to obtain the desired form and texture.

Evaluation of Liquid Scintillator-Filled Fibres for Advanced Radiation Imagers

The project aims at evaluating a novel approach to develop an advanced radiation scatter camera by exploiting the concept of high-resolution liquid scintillator filled heterostructure fibres. A framework of these fibres forming a single volume radiation medium will enable the development of the next generation of radiation imagers by substantially improving the current technology performance.

The hierarchical carbon nanotube structures for Li-Ion Batteries

This research project will investigate the design, fabrication, application, and testing of hierarchical carbon nanotube (CNT) structures. Advanced manufacturing processes will be employed to create these structures, including lithography techniques, chemical vapour deposition, and elastocapillary aggregation of vertically aligned CNT forests. Much of the work will focus on the modification of the resulting CNT structures for Lithium-ion battery electrodes.

Characterising the Mechanical Behaviour of a 3D Printed Hydrogel Structures for Tissue Engineering Applications

High quality drug screening is essential for time and cost-efficient drug discovery and future personalized medicine. Key missing features of commercially available screening solutions are (a) the lack of a human-like 3D tissue microenvironment and the complex organization of multiple cells into organ tissue (organoids) to simulate proper organ function and (b) an understanding of the behaviour of such soft materials. This project contributes to the latter issue by developing a highly reliable method achieving high repeatability in measuring the elastic modulus of a phantom soft material in a 3D printed structure (specifically hydrogel).

Development of method(s) to assess mechanical properties (fracture toughness, elastic modulus and hardness) of coatings.

Coatings on the cutting tools is a long last sustainable business area and hence they need better and more accurate real time assessment methods of fracture toughness – an important property driving wear of coatings beside hardness and elastic modulus.

Machine learning for automated close-range photogrammetry

Close-range photogrammetry is an optical form measurement technique which relies on detecting and triangulating feature correspondances between a set of photographic images to create a 3D point cloud. Photogrammetry is an attractive form measurement technique due to the relative low cost of the components required when compared to competing technologies, such as fringe projection. The current measurement pipeline is, however, slow and dependant on user input.

XCT calibration via softgauges

X-ray computed tomography (XCT) has been used widely as a non-destructive testing tool in the quality of additive manufactured components. However, the software developed for XCT are mostly used for visualisation purposes, where there is limited understanding of the traceability and uncertainty of the software. This project will develop and validate an XCT soft-gauge framework that will contribute to future XCT calibration process. This proposal follows up a previous short term MRes project that looked into the development of simulation data for software gauge purposes.

High-precision form shape and texture artefacts

High precision manufacturing of components at micro and millimetre scale often require multiplatform manufacturing which may involve various additive and subtractive manufacturing. The quality of such products relies on traceable high accuracy shop floor measuring instruments. Traceability of such instruments is limited to basic calibration routines that certify the axis of the machines, however, this is not enough for the measurement of complex parts with inherited micro geometry.

Additive manufacturing of neuromorphic devices and neural network architectures

The focus of the project is to research the design, additive manufacturing and characterisation of neuromorphic and neural network architectures.

Development of a Novel Atmospheric Pressure Plasma System for the Reduction of Water use in the Cleaning of Mirrors in Concentrating Solar Power Plants

This project aims to investigate and develop the use of atmospheric pressure plasma to clean and condition the surface of CSP mirrors, reducing or possibly even eliminating the need for water for cleaning purposes.

Novel Methods for Compact Readout of Silicon CMOS Quantum Dot Spin Qubits

Quantum computing has the potential to solve problems that are intractable using today’s classical computers, such as simulation of complex systems or large global optimisation problems. Important applications range from discovery of new medicines and functional materials to cryptography and data science. Such algorithms will require millions of quantum bits (qubits) to operate, making scalability a key consideration.

Application and development of Imaging and diagnostics for the real time analysis of metal based additive manufacturing.

Laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing is an industrially attractive technology due to the geometric freedom in part design and the ability to manufacture components with structures impossible to achieve via conventional machining techniques. The process is unfortunately slow and plagued with defects due to the non deterministic nature of the laser powder interaction. A novel multi beam arrangement has been developed to investigate different conduction mode beam scanning strategies for scaling towards high throughput manufacture.

Microwave atmospheric plasma for surface energy modification and coating

This PhD project involves further development and characterisation of a MW plasma system for the ultra-precision engineering application, and particularly for the modification of surface energy of polymeric materials for manufacturing purposes.

Experimental Investigation of Filament Behaviour in Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) is an attractive alternative to conventional manufacturing techniques due to its geometric freedom and versatility. Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is a relatively low cost form of AM, which is able to produce complex features via layer-by-layer extrusion, however, it is commonly characterised by poor quality. This project investigates how the dimensional, geometrical accuracy, and repeatability (precision) of the FDM process could be improved through the evaluation and modifications of its current mechanisms.

Inexpensive and Seamless Orthoses by 3D Printing of Novel Biomimetic Structures and Materials

The aim of the project is to improve the efficacy/comfort and global availability of low-cost orthoses for diverse musculoskeletal and traumatic conditions through 3D printing of novel liquid crystal polymers in biomimetic structures with higher strength and stiffness, and therefore less weight than current 3D printed orthoses.